WEST CARTHAGE — A trio of firefighters was honored Friday at the Calvary Assembly of God during the Northern New York Volunteer Fireman’s Association convention as Fireman of the Year.
According to the nomination letter, Kerry D. Cochran and Jeffery J. Angleberger of the Colton Fire Department and Chris Shea of the Parishville Fire Department risked their own safety to go beyond the call of duty to rescue three snowmobilers who had fallen through the ice on Rainbow Falls Reservoir in the town of Parishville on a frigid March night.
With Mr. Shea in the water in a dive suit and the Colton firefighters in protective “gumby” suits, they rescued one victim clinging to the edge of the ice using ropes and brute strength. As the rescue team was fatigued and the other two snowmobilers were presumed dead, shoreline command urged the team to come to shore to wait for backup divers. However, the team persevered and pulled another survivor from the icy water; he later succumbed to his condition.
“These three men would not leave the scene and in the opinion of the experienced fire and EMS officers at the scene, went well above and beyond the call of duty and put themselves in great danger to complete the rescue and recovery operation,” said the nomination letter submitted by the chiefs of the two fire departments. “The rescue operation was performed without regard for the dangerous conditions of ice and weather, placing their faith in their training and equipment.”
“It’s a huge honor,” said Mr. Cochran, a 14-year member of the department. “But we were just doing what we were trained to do.”
“We were just doing our job,” said Mr. Angleberger, a five-year firefighter.
Mr. Shea did not attend the ceremony.
Alan J. Marceau, a 14-year member of the Clayton Volunteer Fire Department, received the Meritorious Award for rescuing a man from his burning Alexandria Bay home.
“It’s a great honor for the department as well,” Mr. Marceau said of the award. “I didn’t do anything that anyone else in this room wouldn’t have done. I was just in the right place at the right time.
Following the announcement of the Firemen of the Year, the annual memorial service for deceased members was held.